MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — TCU's offense entered Saturday as the Big 12's highest-scoring offense (tied with Oklahoma State at 44.7 points per game), and the Horned Frogs continued making big splash plays.
The Horned Frogs beat the West Virginia Mountaineers, 41-31, on the road Saturday in Morgantown.
A sack knocked TCU out of field goal range on their opening possession, but the big, explosive plays came in abundance from that point forward. The Horned Frogs scored touchdowns of 71 yards, 55 yards, 51 yards and 30 yards in the first half alone.
TCU running back Kendre Miller's 51-yard touchdown run marked nine straight games with a score.
West Virginia's offensive success was dealt in consistent, smaller jabs. The Mountaineers' first half scoring drives were eight plays, 10 plays and 15 plays.
West Virginia opened the scoring in the second half with a field goal after a controversial fumble recovery call on a punt return. These were the only points scored in the third quarter by either team.
TCU opened the fourth quarter with a field goal of their own to extend their lead to a touchdown, then made it a two-possession game with another field goal (34-24) with just over nine minutes left in regulation.
West Virginia didn't bow out, however, narrowing the game back to one possession with just over four minutes in regulation on a 23-yard laser in the middle seam from quarterback J.T. Daniels to wide receiver Reese Smith.
After an unsuccessful onside kick, TCU dialed up three pass plays, all of which where incomplete, giving West Virginia the ball back and only taking 15 seconds off the game clock. TCU's defense forced a crucial three-and-out, and then the offense scored the final touchdown of the game with 20 seconds left.
With the win, TCU breaks a four-game losing streak to West Virginia and moves to 8-0 for the first time since 2015. Ironically, the 2015 TCU Horned Frogs also moved to 8-0 after a win against West Virginia on the exact same date: Oct. 29. Spooky, right?
PHOTOS: No. 7 TCU Horned Frogs vs. West Virginia Mountaineers
- QB Max Duggan: 16-for-28 passing, 341 yards, three touchdowns and one interception
- RB Kendre Miller: 12 rushes, 120 yards and one touchdown
- WR Taye Barber: four catches, 99 yards and one touchdown
- QB J.T. Daniels: 22-for-37 passing, 260 yards, two touchdowns and one interception
- RB CJ Donaldson: 19 rushes, 104 yards and two touchdowns
- WR Sam James: six catches, 95 yards
WHERE'S THE FIRST HALF DEFENSE?
The first half was a bit of a shootout between the two offenses, racking up 637 total yards and 49 combined points.
TCU's defense has struggled early in games recently, allowing 28 first half points to Kansas State, 24 first half points to Oklahoma State and 17 first half points to Oklahoma. The Horned Frogs tightened up in the second halves of those games, however, allowing zero second half points to Kansas State, six second half points to Oklahoma State (game went on to double overtime), and seven second half points to Oklahoma.
In the second half against West Virginia, TCU's defense was stout, holding the Mountaineers to three points on a short field following a fumble recovery, and turning them over on downs inside the 5-yard line. TCU held West Virginia to 10 points in the second half.
HORNED FROGS COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF BOUND?
The first College Football Playoff rankings come out on Tuesday, Nov. 1. The committee will release its top 25, but more importantly we'll know which four teams are currently slated to be in the College Football Playoff. At the end of the day, these are the rankings that matter, not the Associated Press Top 25.
The AP poll, however, serves as a barometer of where teams could be ranked by the playoff committee. TCU was ranked No. 7 by the AP going into its game against West Virginia. Where will the Horned Frogs stack against the rest of the nation? We'll find out Tuesday at 6 p.m. CST on ESPN.
TCU's only realistic shot of making the playoff is to go undefeated and win the Big 12 championship, and even that only begins their conversation. There's a number of teams already ranked ahead of TCU who are also undefeated, but a few of those teams (ex. Ohio State and Michigan) play each other.
So, there's a lot that still needs to play out.
TCU will host Texas Tech next week on Saturday, Nov. 5.
West Virginia will travel to Ames, Iowa to take on Iowa State on Saturday, Nov. 5.
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